EN3263: Singapore Literature in Context

Module code & title: EN3263: Singapore Literature in Context

Grading:

25% close reading assignment
35% research essay
15% book review
15% 5 minute presentation on a selected singapore literature text from 2012-2017
10% class participation (yes he actually likes it a lot a lot when people talk, he asks questions)

Lecturer: Dr Philip J Holden

He’s a really kind professor, some have described him as a kind uncle. He’s the most conscientious professor in the literature department I’ve ever met besides Dr Yeoh. He creates a lesson plan on IVLE, linking all worksheets/slides/secondary readings and everything really, it’s quite astounding considering most professors don’t actually do that.

What it’s about: It’s a singapore literature module. You study Alfian Sa’at and other related authors, mainly from the Anthology of Singapore literature. You go through the history of Singapore and some of the controversial times/texts that our nation has seen. it opens your eyes to things in literature you haven’t seen before, and the discussions are enlightening.

Assignment workload: Reading of primary texts and weekly forum posts. Weekly forum posts are how he notes and starts class participation because he discusses the opinions that you posited on the forum posts. Anyway forum postings are good because you have to read the texts to post on the forum.

Thoughts about the tutor: –

Project workload & question/theme –

Readings: See above

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): It’s a lot of work though, many small components. But manageable.

Recommended if…You’re interesting in singlit. You should check it out.

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 3.5/5

 

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EN2201: Backgrounds to Literature

Taken in AY16/17 Sem 2, (posting this late, but realised it was worth writing!)

Module code & title: EN2201: Backgrounds to Literature

Grading:

70% CA – made up of:
1. Midterm essay (20%)
2. Final essay (30%)
3. Class Participation (20%)
30% final exam (YES this module has finals!)

Lecturer: Dr Gilbert Yeoh (he’s the best!!)

Dr Yeoh gives you everything. Like he prints a course package for you and he has soooo many slides because every possible thing he wants you to learn for the module is smacked on it. His lectures are funny, sometimes information overload. The seminar is made up of a lecture for an hour and a half then a discussion segment. There’s a break in between those segments. He is open to controversial ideas and opinions. He wants originality in your essays which to be very honest can be tough given that he spoon feeds almost everything. But it is very interesting and he’s super kind and generous to always help/open for consults so please go for consults.

What it’s about: It’s a classics module. You study Homer’s Odyssey, Sophocles’ Oedipus and the books of Genesis and John from the Bible. Reason for these texts being that they are argued to be the earliest written texts in Western civilization and their themes are foundational for the writing and creation of Western literature. (therefore the title of the mod)

Assignment workload: READINGS. Many readings for a 2k module, but it is doable. Speak up in lectures, and you’ll do okay. Go through the tutorial question list at least, skim through it once before you come into the seminar.

Thoughts about the tutor: –

Project workload & question/theme –

Readings: See above

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): It’s an interesting paper, he’s not so much looking for originality as much as argument and your opinion so just state your opinion. Most people pick their favourite text and write on it.

Recommended if…You love Dr Yeoh (!!woo!!)

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 5/5

 

EN2275: Writing About Literature

Module code & title: EN2275

Grading: FULLY CA
10% class part,
20% Summary
25% Essay 1
25% Essay 2
10% Final Portfolio/Reflection

Lecturer & tutor:
Dr Aparna Shukla

Dr Shukla created this module newly, hence being the first iteration a lot of things would be new and in incipient stages. Lectures could be draggy until you realise what the focus of the module is and that actually lectures are not as good as tutorials. Tutorials are more helpful because mostly students take this module with the idea that they want to improve on their writing and generally people improve in smaller groups because there’s more attention on the individual student so that’s the thing about her tutorials, they’re small and super helpful.

What it’s about: how to write. properly. You start with learning summaries and interpretation skills which seem lame until you realise you cannot actually do it properly. Then you learn how to think and write a clear proper introduction and you move on to the essay itself… She uses the topic of trauma to give us a platform to write.

Assignment workload: Not much work. One reading can be covered over the first 6 weeks. Then the second half is a film/text. There are secondary readings but they are as per needed (if you write the essay then you read that reading)

Thoughts about the tutor: –

Project workload & question/theme –

Readings: Barely any, really.

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): No exams. 3 assignments through the semester, all of which you can bring in and consult her. And you should. It’ll help tremendously

Recommended if…you are a literature major who needs to learn how to write properly.l

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 4/5

Expected grade: A-

Actual grade

SC3101: Social Thought and Social Theory

Module code & title: SC3101 Social Thought and Social Theory

Grading: 10% Class Participation, 3 short papers (40%, each 13.3%), finals 50%

Lecturer & tutor:
Lecturer: Dr George Baylon Radics
Tutor: Jamie/Prof Radics

Prof Radics is wonderful. Have I ever mentioned how amazing he is? He’s patient, answers every email sent to him (with a whole host of explanations, sometimes), and is always ever ready for consultations despite his busy schedule. I appreciate his teaching style, as he incorporates examples relevant to the world and to us in his lectures.

Tutorials under him are great, he explains the questions in the tutorial worksheet and gets us to give and find out the answers complete with the page number so that not just us but everyone benefits. Furthermore, if the answers given are either too soft or unclear he will repeat and elaborate on it so everyone gets it.

What it’s about: the three main thinkers of sociology, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber – their perspectives with regard to society, economy and religion. It’s very factual and you get to go a step further to compare them to each other (if you wish). You also note the relevance to the contemporary society

Assignment workload: Readings mainly. One assignment per each third of the sem – week 3, 7, 10. Finals is a huge percentage

Thoughts about the tutor: – 

Project workload & question/theme – 

Readings: A lot, kind of was okay for me as I am a literature major. But for those not accustomed to readings this would be quite a killer. It’s not so much the length which is hard to get by but on top of that it is not easy to understand, especially Marx.

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): 50% weightage. The paper has section 1 and 2, section 1 is a compulsory analytical question worth 40% of the overall, 2 questions choose 1 to compare all three thinkers. Section 2 (60% of the paper) has 9 questions choose 3, shorter answer (I wrote 1-1.5 pages), more factual and less evaluative and opinion based. Not very tough, if you studied you can answer

Recommended if…you are a major in soci this is a compulsory module. Or if you’re interested in the theories and concepts behind social theory. It’s a theory module not an application module for you soci-interested people looking for application mods.

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 5/5

Expected grade: A-

Actual grade

What doing a pullup taught me about life

I’m a small girl, a weak girl. But pullups taught me incredibly much about life.
  1. THINKING IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. You start by believing it is incredibly ridiculous about the thought of ever crossing the bar. You watch videos and you’re like how do people manage to yank themselves up. It’s like life. Some of the most daunting things seem impossible and for a long time they will continue to do so. You watch people do and convince yourself you cant do it, you forget that God is the one who gives you the strength to do life, to finish that essay, to reach out to that person, to make peace with that family member. The thought of trying doesn’t cross your mind because you’ve internalised how hard it will be and you can never imagine it can be done.
  2. Growing the seeds of belief. Digging yourself out of your resigned state and starting to believe you may actually be able, one day, far away but possibly so. I watched fitness videos and I saw 16 year old girls, just like me do it and I thought wow maybe it’s because they tried and they definitely somewhere. It’s like how we see others do well because they trusted God for something and we’re like wow okay maybe it works. Seeing others try is faith provoking. So let me tell you that if you try, it creates a cycle where you inspire others (I’ll come back to this later). This part of the process is the hardest. It’s the hardest, it’s even harder than actually being on the bar. The battle isn’t so much physically but mentally, you need to convince yourself. This part no one can be a part of, it is all you that you need to convince yourself to go do what God wants you to do, or what you know you should but are just too afraid to try.
  3. Convinced? Stage three is where you start trying. You hang on the bar and you feel the weight of everything (your body weight + gravity) all on your arms/shoulders. When you start trying, the pressures don’t come just from inside you (your lack of belief) but also from the external. Everything will try to bring you down, the time won’t be right, you’ll be tired, people will reject and diss  what you thought were your good intentions and this makes you start to believe less as the days go. Worse part is the bar is so high, literally. You see standards set and you know the only standard you have is your own convictions and beliefs and yet you can’t help feeling small and inadequate. But you grip the bar anyway and that’s a start. Good on you.
  4. You keep pulling, against all the odds you pull. I pulled for months, I tried so long and I just couldn’t bring myself over the bar. I stopped for 2 years because I went back to stage 1. You’re gonna fail countless times, you’re gonna try until you’re exhausted. There’ll be days you sit there and cry because life has taken everything out of you, opportunities passed you by, you wasted some. You get rejected by companies you applied jobs for and passed the many stages of interviews only to fail at the final hurdle. Your parents don’t value you, your friends don’t either. You feel how tired you are and you get going deadlines work school family church social life everything just overwhelming,  crumbling on you. You want to give up.
  5. Helplines come. After all that time, my best friend told me to try using a resistance band. It reduces the weight you’re pulling so you can cross the bar easier. It worked wonders, not so much for my body but for my confidence. I actually crossed the bar. Life throws you helplines. Be wise and listen to them. They come in advice, scolding, hugs, many many forms, sometimes not forms you like. But listen. They make the difference between you succeeding and you failing. One more thing, don’t get super reliant on them. After a while I realised I could hit 10 pullups with the resistance band. When you’re going good with the helpline, it becomes time to get weaned off it.
  6. Crossing the bar? Stepping on the floor. Looking up. All the advice of everyone I’d talked to ringing in my ears, I grab the bar. I pullback my shoulders and I begin the pull, I clear half the distance between my head and the bar, and somewhere I hear half my mind tell me oh no you can’t, and another half just say go go go go. Who you listen to determines whether you cross because at this point (and actually the rest of the time) it’s not a physical thing, but mental. At the start you may have been physically weaker but there’s no reason to be now. I’ve trained. You too, you’ve come this far. Uttering a silent *God help me*, I listen to the half of my mind that tells me to go and I pull. And suddenly I’m clear of the bar. I see my chin cross it. And I finally understand what it is to succeed. It’s small but it’s a victory. It’s a personal victory from my fears. You too, you gotta listen to the side that tells you to just go and obey it. The helplines that pulled you along/up won’t be there forever. You’ll have to clear the bar on your own, your life and race is yours. You can train with people just like you can run life’s race with people but in the end your race is your own to brave through the nightmares, the doubts, fears and tears. But take heart, you will clear in His timing.

Y3S1; All in a Semester’s work

Reflection
It’s been a while since I posted or wrote anything due to the sheer madness of deadlines and appointments every week. This was a painful semester because I changed a lot of things inside me. I let grades define me, and that stung real badly when everything started to crash terribly, all at once.  I used to pride myself that grades weren’t a priority but along the way I got lost in everything that was happening. I’m thankful that in this processing of digging myself out of the hole of self pity, I managed to find some basic self respect for the hard work I put in. I’m thankful for the people who kept reminding me, day in and day out, that I do my best and leave the rest to God and don’t tag my identity to my grades. And having said that, I’m also thankful to those who inspired change in me, who forced me to see the bigger picture. It’s very difficult to see the bigger picture when you’re stuck in the rat race, especially when you’re crying, dying, and struggling to pull yourself through. I reached the point where I convinced myself I was utterly stupid, incapable of coherent thought, as evidenced by the way I attempted to make arguments in the essays, all futile attempts. The confidence took a real beating.
It’s all better now, the pain for this time is starting to be that bit lessened, there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
Thanksgiving
I’m thankful also to professors who cared more than just for grades or academics, professors who asked about whether I was doing okay, why I did not show up for class because I was just too afraid to face a new day of challenges when I could barely get over the previous one. Thank God for professors who ended emails with ‘P. S. KEEP GOING, none of us are good, or perfect, but we’ll all be learning together’. Seems cliché but when you’re really down and out and sitting in a puddle of self pity, you need to hear that.
I’m thankful for friends who told me to sleep, who bought me food, who texted me and took time off to help me when I couldn’t help myself. Most of the healing took place while I slept and woke the next day with a renewed sense of purpose. I’ll keep trying, again.
Esthertiq
Lastly, I changed distressdoodles to esthertiq. Distressdoodles was a coping mechanism for the near breakdowns and high levels of mental stress experienced in university, especially year 2. Over time I realised that it completed what it was created to do and that inspiration to draw was easier and easier to come by. Lettering became a skill and a part of me, that I became able to go from using this as a device to deal with stress to something I could use to collaborate with others and be useful to those around me, to encourage them through cards, to brighten and put a smile on someone’s face.
Reformation Day
I used to underestimate the power of what I have and who I was, with the power and grace of Christ, and then I used to fail because I relied on myself completely and I failed myself, but from today at least I’ll attempt to document  this change that started in me and I pray God help me see my identity isn’t pegged to my grades, or accomplishments or skills, but to Christ, for all the love He poured out for me that day on the cross at Calvary. Reformation day came and went and one tenet out of the others that Luther stood for was Sola Fide, that is Justification/Salvation by Faith. Faith in Jesus, not myself, not my work or my anything, but in and through Christ alone.

GEH1061: Representation and Media

Taken in:
AY16/17 Semester 2

Lecturer/Tutor:
Ms Sofia Morales

What the module is about, briefly:
So this module comes from CNM (Communications and New Media) department. It begins with the basic theories of representation and media – ideas of signifier, signified, semiotics, creation of social constructs etc… (i.e. Foucault, Barthes, Butler…). These theories are then applied to real life contexts – Bollywood, KPop, Celebrity, Identity Politics etc. (There’s quite a fair bit of theory to be memorised)

Texts:
Mostly pdfs that are available on the IVLE site, works from Stuart Hall, Judith Butler, Foucault, and other short articles and stuff. Manageable.

Workload:
Do show up for class. Slides are like just a dump for random words, and quotes from the readings. But if you don’t go for class or do the readings you’d be quite lost. If you don’t do the readings like consistently, you’d be swamped at the end, because…(read next section)

Format of assessment:
So her midterms and finals, there’s both…

Tutorial participation 15%
Midterms 20%
Group Project 30%
Final exam 35%

Project/Presentation:

 

  1. you’d be writing a 5000-6000 word report on any topic you choose
  2. in groups of 4-5, assigned by tutorial.
  3. if you’re fortunate, you’d get a good group. I sincerely wish you would, ’cause mine was literally amazing, super efficient, on the ball, and hardworking
  4. Start early, like week 6 or 7. Give yourself 4-5 weeks. GIVE TIME FOR EDITING. Most groups do like each person writes like 1.2k words and then everyone’s writing style is different so what happens is that you’ll need to edit it so it has some form of uniformity (not so obvious differences in writing style), although you can never fully make each part exactly the same.
  5. Choose something interesting. My group chose Arrow the TV series and wrote about the different kinds of stereotypes that were present in this case study – eg. superheroes, women, asians, etc.

Lecturer/Tutor

 

She loves to tell her own stories, sometimes it is useful to the topic other times not so much. Go for lectures, they’re useful. She’s friendly and approachable, marked group project leniently. But I don’t really like the format of the exams personally. (More in the next section)

Tutorials are an hour long and slightly pointless.

Exam difficulty:

For midterms and finals, it feels like she wanted you to memorise the reading. It’s like extremely factual, I personally regret not studying harder (studying as in not just understanding concepts but also figuring out who says what and in what context). The exam is broken into MCQ, short answer and one longer answer (half a page). The first two sections are factual (that’s like 70% of the paper) and the last 30% is a short 10m essay question that’s ALSO (argh!) factual and barely analytical, which was the thing I couldn’t deal with.

 

Recommended:

 

Content heavy module. Wasn’t really what it said it would be, well yes in that it is still very very factual but little analysis and thought needed, just absorption power.

Overall rating (/10):

5/10

 

EN3221: The English Renaissance

Taken in:
AY16/17 Semester 2

Lecturer:
Dr Walter Lim

What the module is about, briefly:
Renaissance texts and concerns, covering a selection of plays and prose. This module familiarizes one with the historical and political context of the Renaissance and allows you to read the texts in the light of that context. Themes that are covered are like: Protestantism vs Catholicism, authority, The Great Chain of Being, traditional gender roles, man’s relationship to God, sexual desire and prohibitions, etc

Texts:
William Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Andrew Marvell’s Sonnets
Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus
Ben Jonson’s Volpone
John Milton’s Poetry
John Donne’s Devotional Lyrics and Love Poetry

Workload:
Readings, well mainly the text, if you can even keep up with that. There’s secondary readings that are non-compulsory, however, there are select authors which he often refers to which would be good if you know about. My biggest tip for dealing with this module is that – there is much breadth covered, but the amount of depth which you would want to go into is really up to you, and I chose a certain topic and then researched more on it, so it is really up to you. I did so, so that I would get a chance to explore one topic I really liked and go deep into it. (Also it means you’d have less worries about listening to the rest of the topics/authors).

Format of assessment:

1 short midterm essay 15% (600-800 words)
1 Review Essay 15% (review of an article, pick 1 of 4, some can be longer than others, but pick it based on your interest, each one is a different topic, 500-600 words)
1 Final Essay 40% (includes annotated Biblio and abstract)
Forum Participation 10%
Tutorial Presentation & Class discussion 15% (1 Project Presentation (!!) tutorials will be listening to different presentation, my advice is to sign up super early and get it done/out of the way asap)

(yeah so it’s a somewhat exhausting workload, but it’s kinda spaced out nicely so no last min work)

Project/Presentation:
You’ll be presenting on a particular text, there will be guiding question(s) given at the start of the sem/first tutorial. You’d probably have to come up with a 1/2 an hour presentation, and anything you do not know, learn to direct it to the floor, deflect questions like a boss (no, seriously, if you do not know something, ask the class for answers, people should talk, and if they don’t, Dr. Lim will cover it well. 

Lecturer/Tutor
Some people say this prof has a kinda like ‘one track mind’ and other things, this is not to say it is a bad thing, neither is it altogether a good thing. (Make your own judgments). I really enjoyed the module under him and that’s probably because I got his style. Some people may not and that is fine. His lectures to me are engaging and interesting. He does give lecture notes/slides also so if you’re for any reason unable to make it, it is not too bad. He’s approachable and friendly toward any consultation requests too. 🙂

Exam difficulty:
You pick your own final essay question/there’s a list of like recommended stuff, but you’re free to think of your own topic, just clear it with him.
Article review is not very hard, neither is the presentation etc. Very manageable module.

Recommended:
Yes, it is an essential module that gives foundational understanding for other modules that may have topics that are influenced by Renaissance works.

Overall rating (/10):
8/10

EN3242: History of Film

Taken in:
AY16/17 Semester 2

Lecturer:
A/P Valerie Wee
Tutor: Phoebe Pua

What the module is about, briefly:
History of film. Isn’t it self-explanatory? HAHA. A brief coverage (not in depth) about the different historical backgrounds of film in America, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy. You can choose to focus on any of them later.

Texts:
FILMS* (Ranging from SILENT FILMS to Sound ones),
1. A Trip to the Moon
2. Broken Blossoms
3. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
4. Battleship Potempkin
5. Bringing Up Baby
6. The Rules of the Game
7. Sunset Boulevard
8. The Bicycle Thief
9. The 400 Blows
10. Late Spring
11. The Graduate (I think this was changed, I’m not sure, don’t remember)

Workload:
HAHA. I would say it is tiring but interesting. The most tiring part is perhaps keeping up with the movies, because you’ll need to watch them so you can talk in tutorial, and also, the research part for the group/pair report concerning the various topics (pick one). I did Russian cinema: Constructivism, so that was pretty interesting, though energy-sapping. Final essay requires more in depth thought and research, but if you pick something you like, it isn’t too bad 🙂 I did Doctor Strange (and linked it to Film Noir) and I did pretty okay! (YAY).

Format of assessment:
100% CA:
1. Tutorial participation (20%)
2. Tutorial facilitation (10%)
3. Group Written Report (20%)
4. Research paper – Annotated Biblio (10%), Abstract (10%), Essay (30%)

Project/Presentation:
Presentation centers on the movie of your choice, you have to engage the class in a discussion concerning the movie for that week, you can choose to break the class into groups to discuss various topics in the movie. There are guiding questions so you do not have to worry. The group written report will probably be linked to the movie of your choice (or it may not be, as well). 

Comments on lecturer:
Here is where I shall sing the praises of Prof Wee and my tutor.
Prof Wee: she’s extremely approachable and helpful with the topics you choose to write on, comments on essays and reports are constructive. Her lectures are engaging and interesting. And she’s super nice (I can’t even)
Phoebe: She’s kinda like Prof Wee, and since I got her in tutorial, I’ll say she’s very insightful and proffers useful comments and also does this little thing where she contextualises every national cinema and gives you important dates you should know about each cinema. She does this every week. Also, she’s very good with time management so we always end on time and yet there’s a very fruitful discussion, so I appreciate that immensely.

Exam difficulty:
Just workload, no major exams.
It’s spaced out through the semester so requires a fair but of stamina and much less space for last minute work.

Recommended:
YES. If you like film, yes. If you don’t, (like me), you can still listen it is worth listening to, and then pick a topic you like and work on it. I did film noir and Doctor Strange because I happened to really like both. I wanted to do Marvel but I didn’t in the end because there was just a better option (and I changed my topic like last minute after I finished full annotated biblio and abstract and all because I just felt like it, and Prof Wee let me do it, she talked me through changing the topic and everything worked out). So I hope I have successfully convinced you to do it!!!!!!!!

Overall rating (/10):
8/10

EN3249: Introduction to Visual Culture: Art, Film and Media

Taken in:
AY 16/17 Semester 2

Lecturer:
Dr. David Teh

What the module is about, briefly:
Art history, visual culture, various mediums (photography, painting, videography, etc). Background historical context as well as relevance to current media and technological advancements.

Texts:
mostly pdfs/readings (mostly in RBR, some given in package)

Workload:
You should do AT LEAST ONE of the recommended readings for each week. This is because he covers some of the readings in lecture and it would be oh so helpful to know what he is talking about. Other than that, you just have to work for your presentation (whenever it is) and engage the class, talk to them…Lastly there’s a final research paper and for this perhaps a wee bit more of effort is needed, you got to go search for contemporary art events (or something you have been to before) and write about it.

Format of assessment:

Slide Test 30% (you don’t have to worry, this can’t really be studied for, just show up in class enough to know what it is about)

Review Essay (final essay, ’cause you’re reviewing the art exhibition you’re supposed to go for) 40%

Class part 15%

Seminar Presentation 15%

Project/Presentation:
You’ll be rostered to present on a certain reading, based on the week’s assigned readings. You can choose one or two readings, and you can also choose if you’d like to work alone or in a group. I’ve seen people who present alone and do it realllllly well, some work better in a group, so really, your choice. For the presentation, you’d have to really engage with the reading (it’s not very hard, tbh?) and find interesting stuff that the class (who probably (like 80% chance) wouldn’t have done the reading, as you expect) would be able to be interested in.

Comments on lecturer:
He interrupts presentation, sometimes with useful comments, sometimes with less than useful comments. He’s a good marker and gives valid comments to work and stuff. His lectures can bore people sometimes but if you do the readings, and if you’re interested in the topic, it can be slightly less boring.

Exam difficulty:
Midterms – it’s like, you’d be asked to know the formal qualities of an image (so say like actually give the dimensions and also the material it’s made of, and perhaps where the artwork is displayed etc… and then give the contextual and cultural significance of the image

Finals -none.
Review essay is due week 12, pretty early, so get started on it fast!

Recommended:
It’s not art history, it’s an overview of visual culture, you do cover breadth not depth, so your choice. Interesting readings are given 🙂 You compare across various mediums of art and evaluate the differences and contextualise it.

Overall rating (/10):
6.5/10